neremanth wrote:I wonder how inerrancy would apply to physical pain though? That would also be unnecessary, but is pain something you have the power not to feel (n which case it would be errant to feel it), or something beyond conscious control?
Disrupting the pain signals is probably not possible by mental discipline alone, but certainly your emotional reaction to them is. Learning that you are in control of your reactions even if you cannot escape the things happening to you is a major point of Buddhism, and this guy certainly made a great demonstration of such discipline: "As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him." Sure, that's just his physical actions, but that's the only insight we ever have into anyone else's emotions, and it would suggest that he was managing to stay calm and tranquil despite nerves undoubtedly shouting at him to get up and flail. An inerrant person would have that tranquility to ignore pain if necessary, to be emotionally undisturbed by it.
Come to that, are even mental states like boredom or dissatisfaction enough under conscious control that it would be possible for someone to stop feeling them just because feeling them would not represent the best state of affairs and they are inerrant?
People's degrees of boredom, dissatisfaction, and all other habitual mental states can be conditioned, and thus changed, by the actions of other people toward the subject; so they could certainly be conditioned by the action of the subject toward himself. If we can be taught patience, and we can teach patience, then we can teach ourselves patience; and so on.
But more directly, what kinds of perceptions and emotions you feel in response to what would be a major part of what would be changed about you in making you inerrant in the first place. It's that third, center step which is most important, and that is entirely about how you tend to feel about what you experience and what you should do about it. So in making you inerrant, the genie would have to make you so that you only get bored when it's appropriate; although combined with everything else, you would take action exactly when it was appropriate to start feeling bored, and so it would be more like a counterfactual "I would have gotten bored if I hadn't done something, but I did something, and so wasn't actually bored".
That's sort of a good example of how I imagine the whole thing working. You have the potential to feel bad, and you know exactly when you would start to feel bad, and that that corresponds exactly to when you failed to do the right thing, but you know exactly what the right thing to do is, and have no qualms about doing it, and doing it prevents the circumstances that would make you feel bad, so you never actually end up feeling bad. It's like... you feel heat near your skin and automatically pull away before you get burned, and you are aware of the fact that if you hadn't, rightly, pulled away, it would have hurt, but you did pull away and so it didn't hurt. Or a more abstract example, one of my favorite observations, a lot of good music will tend to have some pattern repeat exactly to the point where it's just about to get tiresome and then switch away one note before it does. (I observed in childhood that if I repeat something over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over -- like that -- that I would tend to stop my repetitions exactly at eight, as that felt like the natural multiple for something repetitive, but also that other people would get annoyed exactly at eight and tell me to stop right when I was planning to stop anyway).
So your potential for feeling bad in some circumstances is exactly what motivates you to act when and how you do, so being inerrant would largely be having those potentials precisely calibrated; feeling things always and only when it is appropriate to feel them, thus motivating you to act always and only when it is appropriate to act.